Gunnison, CO

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Hugs for Hearts
3 Irwin Street
Gunnison, CO 81230

Contact: Heidi A. PowersSend Email


March2009-148This new chapter in Gunnison, CO will be providing teddy bears to Children’s Hospital in Denver and specifically to the Pediatric Cardiac/Surgery Unit in honor of 4 year old Ella. Ella has a genetic heart disorder that requires replacment of her heart value as she grows. She is a wonderful, strong little girl whose family is helping other children with heart disorders.   Heidi Powers and her family ( Aunt of Ella) will be the Hugs for Hearts Chapter coordinators.

Heidi and her husband, a Gunnison police officer, will be sponsoring an archery shoot ( a Fair for kids and adults as well ) in the spring with lots of teddies and activities for all to share.

This fundraiser will benefit the Hugs for Hearts Chapter as they provide teddies for children receiving heart surgery.


In honor of Miss Ella McGatlin, born August 25, 2005 with a rare congenital (present at birth) disorder called DiGeorge Syndrome. The main symptom of her condition was that she was born without her main valve in her heart. At just under a week old she was having open heart surgery in order to place a valve made from a cow jugular. The size of this little valve was smaller than that of a staple. Being one of the smallest recipients, at just 4 lbs 1 oz, in CO to have this procedure performed…she did famously. She is now a vibrant, outgoing, beautiful young girl with her whole life ahead of her. Unfortunately, she will have to have this valve replaced as she outgrows the old. Research is desperately needed, in not just the case of Miss Ella, but all children’s heart defects. (Congenital Heart Defects CHD are the #1 defect in America affecting 1 in 100 children or 40,000 newborns each year. CHD‘s are responsible for 1/3 of all birth defect-related deaths and sadly 20 % of children who make it through birth will not make it to their 1st Birthday. Although a child with CHD is born every 15 minutes, research is grossly under-funded in America. For every dollar the government spends on medical funding, only a fraction of a penny is directed toward CHD research.) Our hope is that one day (soon) they will be able to replace Ella’s valve with that of one that WILL grow with her.

The goal of Hugs for Hearts is to give a huggable teddy bear to every child @ Children’s Hospital that will undergo some type of open heart surgery in the CICU Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. We work closely with the group, Cardiac Kids, in order to make sure ALL children are given a bear to hug and comfort them during these stressful, scary, very dangerous procedures. Please help us to make this dream a reality.